Missing The Point On Camera Phones

from the almost-comical dept

Sometimes you want to sit down folks and have them read (once again) Clayton Christensen’s research on how disruptive technologies work. What’s amazing is that, despite the popularity of his work, those who are facing the challenge of a disruptive technology never seem to notice it until it’s too late. That’s exactly what’s happening with camera phones, and it almost makes the following article comical, as various people who have a vested interest in more traditional types of photography point out the weakness of camera phones. That, of course, isn’t the point. Of course camera phones aren’t as good for taking pictures. Camera phones aren’t designed right now as a replacement for cameras. They’re not competing with cameras. They’re offering an alternative – and that alternative leads to new and different uses. People who use a camera phone don’t take the same types of pictures that a normal camera user takes. That’s not what they’re for. However, as the quality does get better, there is going to be an increasing segment of the population who realizes that camera phones certainly serve the needs that they used to use a regular “snapshot” camera for. Already the quality of new camera phones is getting to be pretty good, and it’s not like camera phone makers have hit their limits yet.

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Comments on “Missing The Point On Camera Phones”

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Andre says:

Re: No kidding

I think alot of people are also failing to consider all of the factors that are making cameraphones so popular. It’s really difficult to find a reasonable choice in phones that *don’t* have cameras any more. What if you wanted one of those Treo PalmOS phones, or a tiny color bluetooth enabled color phone that does email from Sony or Nokia? They don’t even make phones like that any more without sticking cameras in them. Given a choice, I think consumers would lower that cameraphone market share number significantly. Then all of the knee-jerk articles that say cameraphones will drive every other kind of portable device out of the marketplace will look very poorly thought out…

John O'Sullivan (user link) says:

Nobody Told The Consumers

I’ve had lots of bad things to say about camera phones. Mostly things like the experts in the story had to say. Funny thing, though. The consumers aren’t listening. They are buying the things in droves and not only because the vendors are pushing them. I read a news report before christmas (sorry can’t find the link now) that 2+ megapixel camera phones were flying off the shelves in Japan. That was a revelation (at least to me) that these are not just more bells and whistles. And the industry pundits have entirely missed the point. I guess that’s part of the distruptive effect.

When cars first appeared, they were thought to be merely horseless carrages. We now know that the differences were much more important than the similarities. I’ve always thought the same thing about digital cameras. The technological significance of the camera phone is as a first example of that sort of difference.

Permanent4 (profile) says:

Other types of digital cameras...

I work in a place where there is some doubt as to whether camera phones are allowed in the building, so when I upgraded my phone last week, I decided not to get a camera on my phone. Plus, I already have a cheap digital camera attachment on my MP3 player (Archos Jukebox Multimedia), so I really didn’t need another.

What I’d be more interested in is one of those USB keyring cameras, like the one Philips makes, only with a built-in flash and true 1-megapixel capability. Once something like that hits the market, I might blow $100 on it.

Lord Sludge says:


I think people are missing the huge, obvious benefit of having a camera phone: you *always* have a camera with you! That’s the main reason I got my Sanyo 5300. Even though I have a nice digital camera (Olympus 730UZ — 3MP, 10x optical zoom), it’s not something I want to carry with me every day. In practice, the camera phone is for un-planned, anywhere/anytime/everyday pics, while the nicer digital camera is for high-quality, pre-planned pics (vacations, etc).
[Camera attachments for phones don’t cut it for everyday pics unless you seriously plan to carry the attachment with you EVERY DAY, which I sure wouldn’t…]
The ability to send pics to friends & family directly from the phone is just bonus, although I do find myself wishing I could send pics directly from the digital camera, heh…

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